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Osady - Military Settlements 1921-1940​​​​​

District (Powiat) RówneTranslation from the book  
Z Kresów Wschodnich R.P. Wspomnienia z Osad Wojskowych 1921-1940 
(From: The Eastern Borderlands of Poland, Memories of Military Settlements 1921-1940)
Pub: Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych (OROK)

          (Association of the Families of the Borderland Settlers) 
London, UK. 1992 and 1998
ISBN 1 872286 33 X 

Province (Województwo) WOŁYŃ


Postal District (poczta) Tuczyn 
District (Powiat) Równe

Half a century has passed since we were inhumanely deprived of our houses and homeland, the land of Wołyń. In spite of all the years that have elapsed, I still miss that nest of my childhood, that charming region and its natural features, that land whose soil produced wonderful bread, quenched us with spring water and nurtured great patriots, reliable people, loyal to God and Country. Memories come and nostalgia nags and tortures.

Osada Hallerowo (settlement) is where I and five of our family were born – Leokadia, Irena, Edward, Eugeniusz and Ryszard Budzyń. Actually, there were six of us but our youngest brother Józef did not come into the world until our exile in Russia.

Our military settlement extended along the Rowne-Tuczyn route, on two roads parallel to it, 18 km from the former and 7 km from the latter. Fifty-four Haller [1] veterans settled on 648 hectares of land. Their backgrounds varied greatly. They arrived here from the USA, Canada and France, as well as from the three Partition areas of Poland. What united them was patriotism and love of the land which had finally returned to the home country. They were proud that it was also to their own credit because they had as many as seven Virtuti Militari crosses. Many, like my dad, had three Gallantry Crosses and Merit Crosses. For their wounds and labour, the homeland awarded them 11 or 12-hectare plots in property with the possibility of purchasing another 2 hectares of timber and 3 hectares of meadows at Horusz by the River Horyń.

With great enthusiasm and energy the soldierly brotherhood briskly set to work. This was not straightforward, nor was it easy. The soil, uncultivated for years, trampled over, used as a military range by the invaders, was full of abandoned empty cartridge cases and lead bullets. Ploughs turned them up for many years after. The settlers started everything from scratch. The lack of agricultural tools, building materials and funds was sorely felt, but they were young, stubborn, even immune to all adversities of fate. That is why they never let up. Their incentive was their joy at owning their own land. They were free and they were home. And just as in the years of battle so now in labour they supported each other, gave help and advice. A close soldierly brotherhood.

The years went past. Houses sprang up like the proverbial “mushrooms after rain”. And next to them farm buildings. From small seedlings grew beautiful fruit trees; a couple of hectares of orchards per farm. The orchards were the pride of the Wolyn people – they were apparently the most beautiful in the whole of Poland. Spiteful people claimed it was thanks to the soil since it was enough to plant a stick for it to flower and bear fruit. But the settlers knew better how much hard labour they had to put into it, how much sweat and above all the need to treat it with deep respect and sincere love.

They brought in seedlings by their own means. And the variety was huge. Antonówka apples, Papierówka apples, grey and yellow Rennet apples, Paradise apples and “rattles” [2] which were tasty only by Christmas, when they were put into boxes and covered with sand. Large grafted cherries, a delicacy for the kids. Refreshing juicy sour cherries – for jam, liqueurs and dumplings. The settler Grzelczak had bunches of juicy grapes hanging in a hothouse. Between the rows of fruit trees were raspberry bushes, black- red- and yellow currants, and also gooseberry bushes laden with fruit.

In time the settlers received licences for tobacco plantations. And depending on the type of soil some planted Makhorka with round leaves, while others planted Virginia with small or long leaves. Kentucky demanded the best soil, with big leaves up to two metres long, so brittle they broke when someone passed by carelessly. Work on it was laborious and arduous, but then it was the most lucrative.

Not everyone grew tobacco. Quite a few settlers cultivated sugar beet. These had the privilege of purchasing sugar at half the official rate, that is 50 grams per kilogram. In addition they also had molasses for their horses and scraps for the pigs. The remaining beet leaves were used to make silage for livestock as well as an excellent feed.

Our neighbour dedicated as much as eight hectares of land to cultivating hops. The hops were entwined round posts and wires and the flowers hung in bunches giving off a sweet and pleasant aroma. The settler Przecławski set up an apiary of several dozen hives and also cultivated fruit. My dad and Mr Lepacki also bred horses for the army.

The settlement grew, became wealthier and children also arrived. Very good care was taken of the school and a bigger one was planned because five classes were not enough. A new building was erected for a seven-class school with an office for a director, Mr Blaszczak and his family as well as rooms for the teachers: Grobelówna, Stachanówna and others.

A shop, a dairy and a bakery were established in the basement, which was partly above ground. It provided the agricultural school with 300 loaves of bread per day and freed the womenfolk from baking bread at home. Every morning after taking milk to the dairy it was possible to get fresh bread and according to taste choose wheat bread, sourdough or wholemeal. And the kids went for the buns (kajzerki) and the croissants.

Next to the school there was a large square with a sports ground and in the distance, a firing range dug into the ground with three protective sides. Young males who belonged to the “Riflemen” had their first tries at shooting with firearms in it.

To the north of the buildings there were vegetable and flower beds. That was work for the children, they took care of them. From the earliest classes, we were taught the names of plants, flowers and trees. Saturday was the most joyful day of the week for the children. Lessons lasted only till lunch that day, after which there were only scout activities, marches, games and sometimes excursions to the woods or a campfire. We paraded in grey uniforms in our own squads singing out at the tops of our voices from our youthful lungs. The children grew, acquired all sorts of skills, becoming like a large family themselves.

The womenfolk also had their own organisation – the Housewives Circle. They would have their own meetings, tailoring and sewing classes and cookery courses.

As the years went by, building work began on a settlement church in the Karłowszczyzna region because the old one in Horyńgród was a bit too far away. But there was also another reason – to thank God for the bounties bestowed upon the settlement. The first to hit upon this idea was Hallerowo settlement and then Krechowiecka, Jazłowiecka and Bajonówka settlements immediately joined in. It was also the efforts of these four settlements that led to a copy of the icon of the Virgin Mary of Częstochowa being brought and for it to be endowed with robes and decorated with regimental emblems and crosses, for which the womenfolk donated their gold rings, earrings, and more than one even threw in her wedding band without any regrets.

A Health Centre was established by the road which went from the school to the church. There was a dentist there, Mr Tadeusz Kąkol in the later years, brother of our parish priest and twice a week a doctor drove up from Tuczyn.

To the north of osada Hallerowo were 800 hectares of woodland. Part of which belonged to the counts who returned when the Polish government gave them back these lands that had been stolen by the Russians after the January Rising [3]. A brother and two sisters – Rybczyński, Hryniowiecka and Matuszewska – built themselves pretty little palaces out of timber from the nearby forests. Every year our school was invited to the “Woodland Festival” and we took this opportunity to plant saplings in designated places so as to replace the big old trees that had been removed.

Beyond these woods, in Horusz by the River Horyń, were the meadows purchased by the settlers. We went there most enthusiastically with our parents during the summer holidays because students from Warsaw flocked there to stay, having brought tents and canoes with them. Our parents who accompanied us took along fresh bread, vegetables, fruit and dairy goods. We were always welcomed with cries of joy. Mum was known as the “Benefactress” and we were taken in the canoes, taught to swim or play volleyball. We had banquets at round “tables” dug out of the ground and covered with bracken fronds. Everything was delightful. The buzzing forest, the rushing river and the scent of wildflowers put us in a good mood.

In 1936 General Józef Haller graced us with his presence. The settlement positively seethed. Everyone made preparations to welcome such an honoured guest, leader and scout. They were demons for work. The houses took on a fresh appearance. Fences and walls were fixed. Roofs were replaced with zinc sheets. Dad treated himself to a lightning conductor. Two Welcome Arches were built, one at the entrance to the osada and the other by the school. The men were in blue uniforms, the ladies kitted out in colourful bodices and puffy-sleeved georgette blouses. The youngsters were in scout uniforms, the older ones in riflemen’s uniforms. Everywhere lots of flowers, and all eyes shining with joy. And the General shared our delight. He knew that we would not disappoint him and just as his army did so our fathers promised him that we would always and everywhere serve God and Country.

Here is a list of the settlers in Hallerowo settlement in order of residence from the direction of Tuczyn towards Równe: Bronowicki, Kaźmierczak, Kwinta, Bekta, Grzelczak, Przecławski, Budzyń (my father), Lelek, Cierniak, Pleciak, Cisałowicz, Lepucki, Śmigiera, Miodoński, Kąkol, Kurcz, Sułomirski, Pużanski, Magnuszewski, Rybakowski, Doleżan, Fiołek, Krajewski, Oleś, Wojewódzki, Kołacz, Mastaj, Makarewicz, Polewski, Straszyński, Taborek, Wiącek, Wolny, Chmiel – the alderman Dąbrowski, Słomka, Lupa, Łuczynski, Zawadzki, Pietrek, Stasiewicz, Kaczkowski, Szarczyński – village leader, Żygadłlo, Stepaniuk, Marchewa, Szczygłowski, Gwóźdź, Bogatek, Kużmiński, Stępień. The parish priest was Jan Kąkol.

[1] The rising against Russian imperial rule that broke out in occupied Poland on 22 January 1863

[2] Presumably an apple that resembled a baby’s rattle. “Paradise apple” is also the term used for a baby’s teething toy.

[3] Veterans of General Józef Haller’s army.

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